The Director-General of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Dame Julie Okah-Donli, has revealed that no fewer than 13,000 trafficked persons have been rescued by the agency.
Okah-Donli made this disclosure in New York at the premiere of a movie – ‘Mrs Adams’ – about human trafficking in Nigeria, which premiered at the Nigeria House.
According to her, the prostitution trade, which draws its recruits mainly from human trafficking, is estimated at roughly 150 billion dollars business but cautioned Nigerians against referring to trafficked persons as prostitutes, saying they are victims, not criminals adding “a prostitute works for herself and cuts the shots”.
She said human trafficking involved recruitment, transporting and harbouring of human beings to exploit them sexually, for forced labour or for the purpose of organ harvesting through force, deceit, abduction, or fraud.
“So far, we’ve rescued over 13,000 victims, we’ve prosecuted about 339 traffickers and we’ve rehabilitated about 8,000 victims as well,” she said.
“But somebody who is sexually exploited does not work for herself, she work for someone else; she does not even have the freedom or access to the money.
“Some of them came back with all sorts of conditions – some treatable, some untreatable, some with hepatitis, HIV, some with full-blown AIDS.
“A lot of them come back mentally sick and so we have to refer them to the mental hospitals because they were traumatised, they’ve been beaten, raped and used.”
Okah-Donli said that while NAPTIP tried to arrest the perpetrators, they sometimes connived with some law enforcement officers, who were supposed to protect the victims, and allowed them to escape.
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